Student Examples: Edit & Format
Welcome back to How to Write and Publish Your Ebook. We've been talking about how to edit your book, which is turning something that's kind of eh, arguably mediocre (laughs) into something that's, that is a product that you can really be proud of, a message that you are happy to share with as many people as humanly possible. Because, after all, that's one of the big reasons that we're writing books, right guys? Yeah, so editing is a huge part of that. We've also been talking about formatting. How to actually turn your content into a format that makes it possible to sell whether on your own website, or on Amazon, or in any of the other marketplaces that are out there. We're gonna get more into that in step four, the sales piece. But before we do, I wanna talk to some of our student audience members, about exactly how they're gonna go about formatting their book. We're gonna approach this from more of a strategic perspective. So, how are you gonna format your book to actually help you ac...
complish your goal. To get it into a form that's gonna make sense for what you want out of this whole book writing experience. So Britt, I'm gonna have you come up into the hot seat. And Britt, if you could start off just by telling us who you are, what you do, and tell us a little bit more about the book that you're writing.
Okay, I'm Britt Steele, and I'm a yoga instructor, but I am also a teacher-trainer, and we own a farm and yoga retreat center where people come out, and they live their yoga. It's essentially like an ashram, but not at all like an ashram, (Tara laughs) because it's totally western, and what I really do is bring the ancient yoga teachings through modern, practical, day-to-day, real life stuff, and that's my focus.
Great, and so what's the book about?
So the book is ultimately about giving people a platform and a framework for looking at their lives and recognizing what challenges they're facing, and then giving them, with the yoga teachings, giving them a way in which to address and solve those problems.
Great, so like a framework for problem solving?
With yoga principles.
Excellent, love it, love it. And all with sort of the end benefit of just stressing less about what is going on in our lives, right?
Right, yeah, absolutely.
Love it, okay, so when you came into this whole class today, what were you thinking in terms of how you were going to format this book, did you have any idea of what that would look like as an end product?
(sighs) Yeah, sort of, I mean, (Tara laughs) I look at, I mean, I believe that the, I love the opportunity to have an electronic version, but there's also something really amazing about being able to, I don't wanna recreate the wheel, I wanna be able to do something that then is easily transferrable into being a print book. And yeah, I can sell it just on my website, but that's gonna get different traffic than somebody who happens across it on Amazon, for example, so it seems important to be thinking about how that happens, that's why I'm here, how that happens in the big picture now, so that I'm not recreating the wheel as I go along.
Yes, I totally agree, yeah, you are in the right head space for this, absolutely. Okay, so refresh our memory from step one, what's your personal goal in writing this book?
I'm consistently wanting to increase the number of people that are able to hear the message that I live.
Great, awesome, so to me, that says, and we're gonna talk more about this in step four as well, we will hammer this over and over again, actually. But to me, that says, well, you may wanna sell it on your own website, and that's probably a good thing to do too, Amazon is gonna be how you get in front of the most people. Right?
So in terms of formatting, that means looking definitely at that MOBI format that we used Pressbooks to create. So that's gonna be one option for you, which is great because you can start kind of even building your book, since you mentioned that you want, instead of kind of getting to a point in the process and being like, oh crap, that's right, I have to format this sucker too, (all laugh) you know, you can start thinking about that chapter by chapter, part by part, section by section, even, process using Pressbooks, or using whatever software that you're using, but it's thinking about how people are going to be engaging with that as they're tapping their screens or swiping or pressing buttons, or however it is that they're going back and forth. That's really important, you wanna think about that reader experience for sure. But you also wanna think about that distribution piece. So I love that you brought up the print side of this because this class is about selling ebooks, and at the same time, there are some great options for creating print books out there as well. There's a lot of different self-publishing, on-demand services that you can use, but if, again, you don't wanna reinvent the wheel, one that I would highly recommend you take a look at is called CreateSpace, it's just CreateSpace.com, they're owned by Amazon, which is great (laughing) because what that means is that when you get that book finished on CreateSpace, it's published on Amazon, but it also is available in bookstores, it's available through, former book seller here, it's available through all the catalogs that we used to use, like Ingram, and I'm gonna forget the other ones, but Ingram is probably the big one. And that means that you could walk into your local books, Barnes and Noble and say, hey, I'm a local author, you should be carrying my book. And they can order it at wholesale, and put it on their shelf, I know, right! (audience laughs) Okay, so that brings us back to formatting. The way the formatting works on CreateSpace is just with a PDF, again, something we all have the software on our computers now to create, or if you don't, Google Docs, and then the way CreateSpace works is it just, it gives you the template that you need to use to be able to copy your book into that, tweak the formatting, make it exactly how you want it to be, and then just upload it back to the server, they check everything out, they tell you what needs to change, you check it out, you make sure it does, in fact, look the way you want it to look, and then you hit Publish. I know that I keep making this sound so easy (audience laughs) but it is so easy, (laughs) it's that easy. So the only thing that's weird about it, I'll just tell you this up front, is that you can't go in, you and I had talked about that two-column PDF look that you liked, because it kind of looks like you're holding a print book even if it's on your computer screen. That's not the type of PDF that you're going to be creating. The template is actually for a small little piece of paper the size of a book page, right. The nice thing is, though, you download that template for Word or for Pages, you upload it right into, or you open it right in that program, all that stuff is set, the margins are set, the page size is set, the font size is set. You can change anything you want, but any changes you make, you're getting further and further away from what is industry standard. Right, and we had talked about creating a professional product, one way to create a professional product is to follow industry standards. If you're gonna deviate from that, make sure you're deviating from it consistently, and with great intention and care. And keep those deviations to a minimum. So that's how you're gonna do that, then the process of exporting it is exactly the same. You just hit Save as PDF, upload it to CreateSpace, and you're good. So really what we're talking about, then, is kind of creating three different formats for you. We are talking about creating the PDF format that someone would purchase as a PDF, and download, maybe even print out themselves, people do that with my books all the time. It's totally fine, if that's what people prefer. We're also talking about definitely doing a MOBI file, so that you can upload it to the Kindle store and get it read like that, and then we're also talking about the CreateSpace PDF, and using that. Now, again, there's this magic that happens, I've only released two books like this, so this was still kind of new to me, it's only been within the last year that I've started doing it this way, but I thought, again, it would be harder to get the Kindle book and the print book all synced up, no, I don't know how they do it, it's magical, but you tell it, this is the book, this is the ISBN number, which they will help you get as well, and Amazon knows this is the same book, and so all of those wonderful things where you can switch back and forth, I want the Kindle version, no I want the paperback, no I want the Kindle, no I want the paperback, all on the same page, your book will do that too.
Oh, yeah. (audience laughs)
It's so cool. (audience laughs) I know, I feel like this class is just about all the magic of technology that's available (all laughing) to us now. But hopefully there's a lot of strategy that you guys are picking up as well, but that's, in terms of formatting, that's what I would really look at. This just struck me, that might be pertinent to you as well, are you envisioning any, let's talk about those industry deviations, (chuckles) are you considering anything different in terms of formatting, anything unique, anything out of the norm, Britt?
Yes. (all laughing) Sure I am, well, I would love to be able to integrate, well, okay, so everything I do has a lot of depth. And it has a lot of texture to it, and so having graphics and then having depth even in being able to link through to a meditation, to link through to how to make kitchari, or an asana practice, those are all things I would love to have be a part of the teachings as well, because it's all part of it, so I can explain some of those things, but for them to be able to step into my kitchen, and look at how one sets up an altar in one's kitchen. (chuckles)
Yeah, okay, so this is a great question, because you are really bumping into the limitations of the format now. And I mean even print books as well. Because if you're gonna self-publish a full-color book, you're talking about a book that's gonna be $40 to $50, probably, and you're talking about something where you're probably only gonna be making $15 a copy on. And for that price point, that's not very good. Fine, $15 is great, like, I love making $ on an ebook, but I make all that $15. (laughing) You know, and I can sell a lot more at $ than you'd be able to sell at $40 to $50. What my mind immediately goes to is how can we create a multimedia experience of this. How can we work within the limitations of this particular medium so that we can create an experience that's easy for people to hand to somebody else or to recommend, go buy this on Amazon, 'cause remember, all of those deviations are also possibilities where people are, where like Charlie said, it's gonna be hard to read, right, and so we don't want things to be hard to read. Or Amy said, I'm getting everyone confused. (audience laughs) Somebody said, we don't wanna make it hard for people to read, we don't wanna make--
Yeah, we don't wanna make people think while they're reading, beyond thinking about our ideas. So what if, and I know you're a Squarespace user, which is great, what if you created a separate site for the book, but it allowed you to basically create a multimedia reader's guide.
And so you would just kinda layer chapter by chapter, here's a video of me, highlighting my altar. These are all the things that are on my altar, and why. Or maybe it's just an image, and you explain what those different things are. But you make it beautiful, and you make it deep, something that has all those different layers to it. But instead of trying to force that into the format of the book, you create a piece of multimedia that gives people that experience without having to work really hard for it.
So did they buy the book, so we format it, as we've discussed, and then once they buy the book, there's a website that they get exclusive
Yes, you could do it,
I think you could do it three different ways. One would be to set up almost like a membership site experience, where people would register for, username and password, and have their own access to this site. Maybe the book comes with a three-month free membership, and then it's something that, you use this to build a new piece into your business model. Right, so there's that. Then there's, you could just set a password protected page, the password is in the book, everyone uses the same password, sure, people are, other people are gonna see it, but it is what it is. The last way to do it would just be to create an open, public, multimedia experience of the book that you use as a marketing asset in addition to this deeper experience of the book.
That sounds like I would hit the most people.
Exactly, and, so it's gonna be less time-intensive and class-intensive for you to set up, it's going to display probably more of your values, it's gonna help you reach your goal, and I think it's just, I love that kind of, transparent marketing asset piece thing, right, where we're saying, I wanna sell books, and I want as many people to experience this as possible. And so the easiest way to do that is for me to make this open to the public, if you also want to buy the book, you're gonna get so much more than you're getting just on this site, and one plus one is more than two in this case. The parts are greater, or the, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. And I think that's, that would be my preference for creating something like that for you. I would just think about, maybe you can embed a meditation in that site, and you do images, and you think, just chapter by chapter, what's that one extra, deeper place that I can take people to with multimedia. And also in a way that makes people want to buy the book as well. How's that sound?
That sounds great. Does it link, then, to, how would you do that, with my existing websites, so have my brittbsteele.com website, would it be something that they'd access through there, and then in addition, be promoting that website separately?
So I would definite, and this goes for everybody, I would definitely buy the domain name of your book title, or if you have a book, like my, observationengine.com was taken, it had nothing to do with what I was selling, so I felt like, this is still a good title for this book, so that book is at observationenginebook.com. You can find a way to get the domain name. Buy the domain name, I would set up sort of a separate, one-page site, or just a really simple site, and yeah, just have lots of cross linking back and forth. Make sure brittbsteele.com links back to the book site, make sure the book site links back to your site, that's gonna be good for you in the long term, it's gonna improve the chances that people are talking about it and sharing it. Yeah, so that's how I would do it.
Okay, sounds great.
Yeah, any other questions?
No. Okay, that was a perfect example, Britt, thank you!
That was great.
And actually, I think we'll leave it right there. In our next step, we're gonna talk about actually getting this thing sold! Uploading it, publishing it, and getting it out for people to see, sound good? (audience responds positively) All right, let's do it.